MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque Receives ADC Award
Association of Defense Communities Community Leadership Award Presented at Capitol Hill Ceremony
Steve Levesque has been honored with the 2015 Community Leadership Award from the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) for demonstrating innovation and excellence in the successful redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick, thereby creating a national model for future reuse plans.
Levesque, Executive Director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA), accepted the award June 24 at a special Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill during the 2015 Defense Communities National Summit hosted by ADC. The ceremony was attended by members of Congress and leaders from the Pentagon.
“Steve Levesque’s leadership of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority during the time of the Naval Air Station Brunswick transition is unparalleled,” said ADC President Mike Cooper. “Steve continues to be an integral part of why Brunswick Landing is the most successful economic development initiative in Maine.”
Levesque, however, gives all of the credit for MRRA’s success to his team. “This is a tremendous honor. It’s really an award that recognizes the passion, dedication and hard work the MRRA team has put into the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick,” he said.
ADC (www.defensecommunities.org) is the nation’s leading association representing U.S. communities and states with a significant military presence and their partner organizations. It unites the diverse interests of communities, states, the private sector and the military on issues such as protecting defense infrastructure, community-military partnerships, defense real estate, mission growth, base redevelopment, and support for military families and veterans.
Profile of Award Winner
Steve Levesque’s determination to tap into Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit and help a community develop a strategy to deal with the loss of a major employer turned what could have been a devastating economic blow into a major opportunity. As executive director of the Brunswick Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA), Levesque was charged with preparing a master plan for the redevelopment of Naval Air Station Brunswick once it closed. Since 2008 he has been executive director of MRRA, and has led the implementation and oversight of that master plan and guided the once-bustling installation toward civilian reuse. MRRA owns and manages the 2,300-acre property, now called Brunswick Landing, which has become one of the most impressive redevelopment projects in the 2005 round of base realignments and closures and the most successful economic development initiative in the state of Maine.
The establishment of this new business community under Levesque’s leadership has sparked 70 new entrepreneurial start-ups and created 600 jobs. One example is TechPlace, a new technology manufacturing business incubator/accelerator that supports MRRA’s targeted sectors. TechPlace is home to 12 start-up and early-stage technology businesses. New and established businesses from many other industries have also been attracted to the site as well, including the aerospace, biotechnology, renewable energy, information services and composite industries. In addition, the former air station’s flight facilities have been converted into the two-runway Brunswick Executive Airport.
MRRA’s ability to attract business ventures to Brunswick Landing and nurture start-ups has put it on a sound financial footing. It was one of the first LRAs from the 2005 BRAC round to pay off part of its economic development conveyance obligation, issuing a $3 million check to the Navy 10 years before the payment was due. The LRA also produced $2 million in revenue sharing from property leases and sales and has successfully pursued more than $50 million in federal and state grants and bond programs.
Levesque also has ensured that Brunswick Landing supports not only the local economy, but organizations and services that meet the community’s other vital needs. Tenants include a new joint campus of Southern Maine Community College and the University of Maine, which together serve almost 1,000 students and a school for autistic children. It also will house a congregate care facility and a memory care facility, both of which help residents while providing hundreds of new jobs in the community.
Levesque’s vision for this business mecca is summed up aptly in the Brunswick Landing motto, which can be interpreted two ways: as a recruitment pitch to innovative entrepreneurs — You can make it here — and as a reassuring message to other communities that are confronting a base closure — You can make it here.
Contact: Paul Kalomiris, ADC, email@example.com, (202) 822-5256, x440